How MFTs Stack Up
All three licenses currently require passage of a written examination
and an oral examination. The MFT Licensing Law specifically requires the
passage of a written and oral examination as a condition of licensure as
an MFT. The Psychology Licensing Law, however, states (Section 2942)
that the licensing board may examine by written or oral examination or
both, thus leaving it to the board's discretion. The board has the power
to change existing regulations to require only one examination.
Additionally, the Psychology Licensing Law (Section 2946) allows the
board, at its discretion, to waive those parts of the examination,
including either the whole of the written or the oral examinations, when
in the judgment of the board the applicant has already demonstrated
competence in areas covered by those parts of the examinations. Such
waivers are not permitted under the MFT licensing law.
The clinical social worker licensing law and regulations also suggest
that both examinations may not necessarily be required for licensure. In
the section of law which states the qualifications for licensure as an
LCSW (Section 4996.2) passage of an examination is not mentioned.
Another section of law (Section 4996.1) states that the board shall
issue an LCSW license, ". . . to each applicant who qualifies therefore,
and if required to take it, successfully passes the examination given
pursuant to this article." Additionally, Section 1877 of the regulations
governing licensing as an LCSW, states that the examination may consist
of, but is not necessarily limited to, a written examination and an oral
examination. However, Section 4996.3 states that applications for
original licensure shall be accompanied by fees for the written and oral
examinations. Thus, as mentioned earlier, written and oral examinations
are currently required.
The rigorousness of each exam by each board is somewhat hard to
compare. While the pass/fail rates on each examination may differ, the
content and relative difficulty of the exam, of course, influences the
pass/fail rates. The confidentiality of each exam (required by law) also
makes it difficult to make meaningful comparisons that will hold up
under strict scrutiny. Anecdotal information is certainly not reliable
either. Suffice it to say that all of the examinations test the
applicants for their competency to safely and independently practice the
profession regulated. Although each profession would probably like to
take credit for having the most rigorous exams, none can do so.